Ten free minutes for me, 10 free throwaway lines for you . . .
1. Love the thought of the Sox poking around to see if the Indians might be willing to deal Victor Martinez. While genuine interest in the 30-year-old C/1B/DH might be taken as a sign that the Sox don't believe David Ortiz is going to snap out of this, there's no denying that Martinez, a lifetime .304 hitter with a habit of torturing the Sox in the Joe Carter tradition, would be an excellent fit, particularly given his versatility. You have to figure it would take at least one of the Daniel Bard/Michael Bowden/Clay Buchholz triumvirate to make it happen, and you know what? I'd be thrilled if Theo could pull it off for Bowden and a lesser prospect or two. I suspect Mark Shapiro may have other ideas, though, given that they are apparently more reluctant to trade him than they are Cliff Lee. At the least, it's something to keep an eye on if the Indians continue to stumble.
2. I just can't get myself worked up enough to gripe about the Celtics' no-show last night. Yeah, it's a bummer that the season -- not to mention the championship reign -- ended in such an anti-climactic manner. But time and again this postseason I've been impressed by the shorthanded Celtics' knack for delivering when the moment demanded it, whether it was Big Baby's buzzer-beater in Orlando, Ray Allen's string of big shots in the epic Chicago series, Rajon Rondo's triple-double binge, or a clearly weary Paul Pierce doing everything his legs would allow. These Celtics were true champions despite last night's conclusion, and they did their best to defend their crown despite losing their defensive fulcrum in Kevin Garnett and the admirable Leon Powe along the way. Yes, the ending was ugly, and it came a series short of where we expected them to bow out. But all things considered, I will remember this team with admiration. The better -- and healthier -- team won. No shame in that.
3. Words I'll probably regret writing: I want Stephon Marbury back with the Celtics next season. Seems to me we underestimated how long it would take for him to shake off the rust after roughly a year away from regular season NBA action. Provided he remains the same good and popular teammate he was this time around -- talk about your pleasant surprises -- I'd love to have him return as Rajon Rondo's caddy next year. Remember, the Celtics wouldn't have secured what ended up being their last victory of the season without his well-timed flashback. Maybe he has a few more in him.
4. You know shortstop remains the Bermuda Triangle for the Sox when Julio Lugo is the lesser of two evils. Nick Green did a nice job filling in early, but lately his true self has been revealed, at least defensively. He has eight errors in 23 games at short, which is almost enough to make one wonder if he's using a glove Edgar Renteria left behind.
5. Talk about pitching riches: In six starts at Pawtucket, Clay Buchholz has a 1.03 earned run average, has held opposing hitters to a .130 average, and in 35 innings has allowed 16 hits, 10 walks, and 4 earned runs while striking out 37. In seven starts at Pawtucket, Michael Bowden has a 0.86 earned run average, has held opposing hitters to a .136 average, and in 42 innings has allowed 19 hits, 16 walks, and 4 earned runs while striking out 28. Conclusion: Not only are they ready for the majors, but they are probably capable of rating among the top two or three starters for the vast majority of major league teams.
6. Of course, the problem -- if you can call it that -- is that there is no vacancy for them in the Red Sox rotation at the moment. The starters whose spots are the most secure -- Jon Lester and Josh Beckett -- are the ones who have struggled the most, save for Brad Penny, whom I suspect will end the summer wearing another team's uniform. The inclination is to believe in Lester as much as he believes in himself, but on the other hand, it's impossible not to wonder if the Verducci Effect is doing its thing right now. I feel like Lester will find his 2008 form. But if he doesn't, it's like the step back would be unprecedented for a young pitcher. As for Beckett, who knows? I've given up trying to solve that particular enigma.
7. Today's news that Phil Kessel (among about 20 other Bruins) was trying to play with a major injury during the Carolina series kind of puts his struggles late in the series in a different light, doesn't it? It's another reminder that it's not always wise to question a player's performance without knowing all of the circumstances. Not that it will stop me, of course.
8. I do wonder how the injuries to Kessel and David Krejci will reflect the Bruins' chances of retaining them. Both are restricted free agents, and my educated hunch was that Krejci would have been locked up before July 1, with the Bruins taking the chance that no one made Kessel a Dustin Penner-type offer. Now, with Krejci reportedly sidelined up to six months with a hip injury and Kessel slated for major shoulder surgery, perhaps the small benefit is that Peter Chiarelli will be able to retain both at a cheaper sticker price.
9. Since the season finale of "The Office" was the show's 100th episode, I figure it's time for a revised version of my top-five favorite episodes:
10. As for today's Completely Random Baseball Card:
Because sometimes, it really is random.
About Touching All The Bases
Irreverence and insight from Chad Finn, a Globe/Boston.com sports writer and media columnist. A winner of several national and regional writing awards, he is the founder and sole contributor to the TATB blog, which launched in December 2004. Yes, he realizes how lucky he is.